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Silicon Valley CEO continues alien quest despite skeptics

Firmage
Firmage  
January 13, 1999
Web posted at: 12:07 a.m. EST (0507 GMT)

LOS GATOS, California (CNN) -- Don't call Joe Firmage the CEO of UFOs. He has heard enough of that since announcing his views on extraterrestrials last week.

"It's definitely painful to go through what I have the past few days," says the multimillionaire high-tech boy wonder whose current crusade has Silicon Valley abuzz.

Firmage quit the $2 billion Internet marketing and consulting company he helped found, wanting to spare it negative press while he pursues an interest in what he believes is "the most important news event in 2,000 years" -- namely, that many of today's scientific advances came from space aliens.

"The only objection that science has put forward to the UFO phenomenon is that we can't control gravity. Well, these new papers are suggesting that very soon we may be well be able to control gravity," he says.

Firmage, 28, has made not one, but two megafortunes as a computer pioneer in California. But the man dubbed the "Fox Mulder of Silicon Valley" has a new passion.

He has set up the International Space Science Organization to promote his views, sunk $3 million into a project aimed at preparing humanity for alien contact, and posted a 600-page manifesto, titled "The Truth," on his Web site: www.thewordistruth.org.

Cyberspace 'Deep Throat'

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Included in "The Truth" are new documents from a source Firmage calls the "Deep Throat of Cyberspace" which he claims back up his space alien theories.

One of the documents is a purported 1947 memo from President Harry Truman to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal that sets up a secret U.S. government operation dubbed "Majestic Twelve" to investigate extraterrestrials.

Another is an alleged June 1947 letter from Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer to scientist Vannevar Bush giving advice on how to deal with alien visitors.

Firmage tripled his Web site's capacity Tuesday, but it still couldn't handle all the Internet surfers interested in such items as his "encounter."

"I never referred to the words 'visitation' or 'alien,' in that experience that I did in fact have 15 months ago," he says. "It was a very unusual experience, but I would compare it more to a near-death experience."

Firmage suggests that Silicon Valley and the high-tech industry benefited from a UFO crash near a remote New Mexico town in 1947.

"It is plausible something did occur at Roswell, of an extraterrestrial nature. And if it did, I'm not saying that fiber optics came from the crash, I'm not saying the microchip came from the crash. All I'm saying is if material was recovered, it would have been seeded very discretely into laboratories to analyze," he says.

That last suggestion has irked some in Silicon Valley.

"These were hardworking people," says Michael Malone, a Silicon Valley historian. "And they plunged in and managed to create great products. Then someone comes along and says, 'Oh no, that was aliens just whispering in your ear, giving you the ideas.'"

Even Silicon Valley's "official" UFO organization, the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, which is partly financed by high-tech heavyweights from Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Intel, is not lining up behind Firmage.

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Roswell has repeatedly been discounted as nothing more than a military experiment, SETI Institute President Frank Drake told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It is constantly exploited by obsessive types who want to believe. If it's not Santa Claus, then it's aliens."

Firmage, who was a physics major at the University of Utah, welcomes the controversy because it brings attention to his theories.

"I think what we're staring in the face is the reunification of religion and science," he says.

Correspondent Don Knapp and Reuters contributed to this report.

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